Well, it’s a double bonanza that we have got from Asus for it’s not only a Tablet PC that the world’s second largest PC maker had to unveil in Beijing yesterday but it also surprised everybody present at the Source Home summit when it brought forth an e-reader device as well, which as per Asus, will take the reading experience to the next higher level. (There is a separate post dedicated to the Asus tablet PC in this blog.)
Named LumiRead, the e-reader packs a 6 inch screen that boasts of a monochrome E Ink display. Yes, the display is black and white to put it in simple terms and comes at a time when perhaps everybody is awaiting a dash of color on their e-reader screens. LumiRead also features a QWERTY keyboard a la Kindle DX which again has left many in double minds whether it’s a step in the right direction. This since the emphasis seems to be turning towards touchscreen devices with embedded on screen keyboards coming to replace real keyboards.
The rest of the specs are impressive though. Like, it’s got a 2GB flash memory that is big enough to hold 1,500 e-books. And if you think that is not big enough than there’s also a microSD card slot that will ensure the memory figure will go up a bit more. Out of the box, LumiRead will be WiFi ready and will incorporate 3G features as well though in a future model. Apart from these, there is also a built in browser.
A unique aspect with the LumiRead is its ability to scan in ISBN number from real books . The numbers can then be used to create a wish list of the future titles that you will like to have in your e-reader. In fact, the ISBN numbers can also be used to search online for the specific title.
As for content, Acer has got into strategic partnerships with several online bookstores. Like it has inked a deal with Barnes & Noble in the US, Libri.de in Germany and leading digital publishing player Founder for its Chinese operations. There are over a million titles on offer from Barnes & Noble while a whopping four million titles can be availed of from Libri.de. Similarly, Founder will make available e-books for LumiRead in Chinese.
President of Acer, Mr. Geanfranco Lanci also revealed during the event that the e-reader will fully support the Digital Living Network Alliance or DLNA standards with the intention of providing what can be termed as, a “seamless digital experience”. Mr. Lanci also took the opportunity to focus on and unveil Acer’s concept of ‘digital individuals’. “Clear.fi is our concept designed to open up any home network and simplify sharing of digital content across different platforms and systems,” added Mr. Lanci. So what all of this points towards is that Clear.fi will provide the means of integrating technologies and devices within a home setting and enabling them to ‘communicate with each other’. Ambitious concept it sure is but the lack of any clear standards in case of devices or consumer appliances may undo the good theme behind Clear.fi and it remains to be seen how effective it turns out in a real life scenario. However, the good thing is that the above is equally applicable to the Tablet PC that Acer intends to roll out.
Unlike the Tablet PC, the LumiRead is likely to hit markets within a month or two and will be initially offered in Germany, China and the US followed with a more wide scale launch later on. Pricing details though is yet to be divulged.
Keep watching for more exciting Tablet PC or e-reader news.